Reflecting and reading back about my adventures in Southeast Asia, I thought it would be fun to “flashback” a little to finish up my adventures. That probably sounds kind of weird to do a year later, but I hope you enjoy anyways 🙂
Being in Vietnam I had to change my mindset about certain things I had grown up hearing about. The biggest, and probably most obvious, was there was no Vietnam War; it was the American War. All of sudden, I was the “bad guy.” That’s not to say I’ve ever thought of Vietnamese people as bad and I’m not so ignorant as to think that the U.S. (or any country) always makes the right decisions. Just, realistically, don’t most people want to view their country as the “good guys?” I know I do. Now, to leave the semi-political atmosphere that seems all to inevitable and onto the fun!
I brought up the semi-political thought, because as you will see, it was a major theme of the day.
To start our adventure, we went off to an a factory where victims of Agent Orange are able to work. They create, by hand, works of art. They paint, sculpt, carve, and in a unique art form they use eggshells to create beautiful art. Admittedly, I was surprised to see a place for disabled individuals to work because there aren’t any places like that in Cambodia to my knowledge. As we walked through the factory we received many smiles, and many puzzled looks (I think the workers wondered if Martina had been an Agent Orange victim as well).
After some gift shopping, we loaded the bus and headed to our next destination: the Cu Chi Tunnels. This place was cool; it was a section of what is apparently a much larger network of tunnels used during the Vietnam conflict. The people lived in these tunnels which can’t be more than a few feet tall and a couple feet wide (I’m only estimating because I had to squat down the whole time and my shoulders were often only inches from the walls). Living in these tunnels would have been absolutely miserable. They were dark, damp, short on oxygen, and had to deal with all sorts of creepy critters–all the while worrying about American troops and bombings. However, these people were not defenseless, they had booby traps (some pretty nasty ones too) and were able to avoid detection quite effectively. More than anything, I was amazed to see what people were willing to endure to survive. Just incredible.
Going through the tunnels I was able to experience a little bit of American history, in another country oddly enough. The day’s adventure was eye-opening and unique. I am grateful that I could go on this particular adventure. So if ever you have a chance to adventure in the past, adventure on!